Children and adults alike meandered through the museum holding clipboards and pointing at exhibits, occasionally stooping over to closely examine one of the pieces. Patrons were not the only ones that came out for the 10th anniversary of the Woodbury Art Museum. Members of the UVU women’s basketball team, Willy the Wolverine and Miss UVU joined community members in celebrating the occasion.
Although the 10th anniversary of the Woodbury Art Museum’s establishment at the University Mall location is in a few months, the celebration was held Saturday, Sept. 24 in order to coordinate with Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day.
It was 10 years ago next April that Orrin and Wally Woodbury donated space to UVU for an art museum. Since then, the Woodbury Art Museum has continually offered free admission to students and community members to showcase modern art on many mediums, as well as rotate pieces to displays on campus.
Katherine Hall, administrator of Visitor Services, was instrumental in putting together the celebration. She described the event
as an opportunity to celebrate the continuing generosity of the Woodbury family, raise community awareness about the existence of the museum and emphasize its affiliation with UVU.
“We are the best kept secret at UVU,” Hall said. “We want to bring the UVU presence here and solidify that in the public’s mind.”
And bring it she did. Miss UVU Camille Echols, along with basketball players from the UVU women’s team interacted with patrons and even curled up on the floor like puppies from one of the paintings, helping the smaller children connect with the art. Willy the Wolverine helped out, too, by signing autographs and inviting mall shoppers to come upstairs to join the festivities.
Hall also played a key role in the creation of one of the popular events at the museum: I-Spy. These games helped inspire patrons of all ages to look more closely at the work on display. The easier I-Spy games allow children to check off collections of things like animals, shapes or art types. The hardest I-Spy, which Hall calls “wickedly hard,” has only been completed twice – once by a group of six and once by a group of 15.
Hall’s efforts, along with the those of the administration team, seem to be working. Average monthly attendance is up by 200 percent from last year according Chris Juber, assistant to the director. Data collected by the museum shows that last year’s events brought as much as 350 patrons in a single day, whereas this year’s events have seen over 1000.
Choka Walker, stay-at-home mother of two from Provo, was at the museum Saturday for the second time in only a few days. Her 7-year-old daughter, a self-proclaimed art lover, found a flyer for the museum and begged her mother to go. Walker didn’t know the museum was part of UVU before she came. She said she is likely to come back on a weekly basis because her daughter loves it so much.
This is the exactly what the museum management is going for. If community and multiple-department involvement wasn’t enough, Hall was also able to involve two local businesses. Cupcake Chic donated treats for the patrons, and Zurchers donated balloons to draw attention to the museum.
The next exhibition will be “Dichos: Words to live love and laugh by in Latin America,” which will run Oct. 18 through Nov. 30.
The museum, located next to Nordstrom, is open Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit uvu.edu/museum or call (801) 863-4200.